In Japan, pachinko reportedly remains the most prevalent form of gambling with the amount spent by players enjoying the vertical pinball-like slot machines regularly topping approximately $200 billion every year.
Revenues double earnings from automobile exports:
According to a Thursday report from The Independent newspaper, the Japanese pachinko sector annually takes in about twice what the Asian nation usually earns by exporting automobiles while these revenues are some 30 times above those regularly recorded by all of the casinos in Las Vegas and even higher than the entire gross domestic product of New Zealand.
The newspaper reported that Japan currently features around 10,600 pachinko parlors where players sit down and attempt to win prizes by getting silver balls to drop through reconfigurable pins and into a middle scoring hole via the use of a single wheel. Although most forms of gambling are illegal, a convenient legal loop-hole that involves the use of an intermediary purportedly later allows triumphant aficionados to exchange their earned goods for cash.
Industry annually manufactures 1.5 million machines:
The Independent was extolling the popularity of pachinko in Japan as part of an interview with Min Jin Lee, who has just written a fictional book entitled Pachinko, while revealing that roughly 1.5 million new machines are manufactured each year with one in eleven Japanese enjoying at least a single game every week.
Lee reportedly told The Independent…
“One out of eleven Japanese people play it once a week. Once a week. So it isn’t like if you and I went to some silly place. It’s not like Vegas where you go once a year or once every ten years and say ‘Oh, I’m going to be a bride so let’s go crazy’. It isn’t like that at all.”
Possible uncertain future ahead:
However, the newspaper reported that the Japanese pachinko industry is possibly facing an uncertain future due to an ageing player base with the current number of parlors about one-third lower than the 2005 tally. The sector has purportedly countered by attempting to attract younger aficionados although this has not been helped by the recent passage of legislation that reduced the machines’ maximum prize amount to $450.
But, The Independent reported that possibly the biggest danger facing the future of the pachinko market is the recent ratification of the Integrated Resort Implementation Bill, which is due to see Japan welcome up to three giant integrated casino resorts. The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe purportedly hopes that these new gambling venues will help to bolster the nation’s tourism industry and bring in additional tax revenues to assuage an ever-deepening budget deficit.